Mercedes, Ferrari deny trying to frustrate Audi/Porsche

Sam Cooper
Ferrari's Mattia Binotto with Mercedes' Toto Wolff in the paddock at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2022.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto with Mercedes' Toto Wolff in the paddock at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, June 2022.

Mercedes and Ferrari have denied they are making Volkswagen’s life difficult by delaying the finalisation of the 2026 regulations.

Audi and Porsche, both owned by Volkswagen, are looking to join the sport in 2026 but the regulations for that year have yet to be finalised.

At the British Grand Prix, Christian Horner said he expected an announcement of the regulations in the coming week, while Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer said the “big things have been decided”.

But even by race day of the Austrian Grand Prix there had been no announcement of the rule changes that will see an overhaul of the power-unit regulations.

Audi and Porsche’s imminent arrival into the sport has split the paddock, with those such as Red Bull showing support due to how much they could gain as an engine supplier while the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari have expressed concern it would dilute the product.

Still though, both Mattia Binotto and Toto Wolff have denied they are purposefully delaying the finalisation of the 2026 regulations in a bid to frustrate Volkswagen.

Speaking in the build-up to the Austrian Grand Prix, Wolff highlighted the agreement to drop the expensive MGU-H as a sign they are open to newcomers.

“On the contrary, we don’t want to delay those regulations but we want to have them in place,” Wolff said.

“We have given the [MGU-]H, which was a massive thing to accommodate the newcomers.

“And anyway, it was said to us that by the end of the year [2021], we would have the confirmation they are joining the party. That confirmation hasn’t been given until today, I don’t know why.

“This is an environment where regulations will change all the time so you can’t make it regulation-dependent.

“We’ve made big steps towards them. And then let’s make those final steps on the regulations. It’s more the detail and it doesn’t matter if we discuss 50 dyno hours up and down for a newcomer.

“But we’d like to have them as part of the show. They have been sitting at the table negotiating those regulations since a while but not committed yet.”

Binotto concurred with Wolff and said while it is great to have the VW Group joining the sport, there are still “open points” of the regulations that need to be sorted.

“We are very positive that Audi and Porsche are joining F1,” Binotto said.

“We are very positive because it’s great for F1, it’s great having more manufacturers. And it’s great to have VW Group within our business and our F1 racing championship.

“So I think we have done whatever we could to try to adapt to make sure they were happy. We removed the H, we did it only to try to help them joining F1, and believe that for us removing the H is something which is not maybe the best choice.

“It’s a compromise because it’s a technology we know pretty well. It’s a very high efficiency technology, which is great for F1. So I think overall, again, we are very positive and constructive.

“So now, why is taking so long? Because it is the time which is required to do these things properly. And simply we are not ready right now. Not only us as current manufacturers but the FIA, because they are the ones who are leading the discussions.

“And as well I think for Audi and Porsche, the current regulations are not ready yet. They are still open points. And those open points simply need to be tackled and discussed and agreed.”